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Tuesday, November 29, 2022
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Malicious Cyber Activity Against Election Infrastructure Unlikely to Disrupt or Prevent Voting

The FBI and CISA will continue to quickly respond to any potential threats and provide recommendations to harden election infrastructure.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) assess that any attempts by cyber actors to compromise election infrastructure are unlikely to result in largescale disruptions or prevent voting. As of the date of this report, the FBI and CISA have no reporting to suggest cyber activity has ever prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot, compromised the integrity of any ballots cast, or affected the accuracy of voter registration information. Any attempts tracked by FBI and CISA have remained localized and were blocked or successfully mitigated with minimal or no disruption to election processes.

The public should be aware that election officials use a variety of technological, physical, and procedural controls to mitigate the likelihood of malicious cyber activity (e.g., phishing, ransomware, denial of service, or domain spoofing) affecting the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of election infrastructure systems or data that would alter votes or otherwise disrupt or prevent voting. These include failsafe measures, such as provisional ballots and backup pollbooks, and safeguards that protect against voting malfunctions (e.g., logic and accuracy testing, chain of custody procedures, paper ballots, and post-election audits). Given the extensive safeguards in place and distributed nature of election infrastructure, the FBI and CISA continue to assess that attempts to manipulate votes at scale would be difficult to conduct undetected.

Election systems that house voter registration information or manage nonvoting election processes continue to be a target of interest for malicious threat actors. Cyber actors may also seek to spread or amplify false or exaggerated claims of cybersecurity compromises to election infrastructure; however, these attempts would not prevent voting or the accurate reporting of results.

The FBI and CISA will continue to quickly respond to any potential threats, provide recommendations to harden election infrastructure, notify stakeholders of threats and intrusion activity, and impose risks and consequences on cyber actors seeking to threaten U.S. elections.

Recommendations

  • For information about registering to vote, polling locations, voting by mail, provisional ballot process, and final election results, rely on state and local government election officials.
  • Remain alert to election-related schemes which may attempt to impede election administration.
  • Be wary of emails or phone calls from unfamiliar email addresses or phone numbers that make suspicious claims about the elections process or of social media posts that appear to spread inconsistent information about election-related incidents or results.
  • Do not communicate with unsolicited email senders, open attachments from unknown individuals, or provide personal information via email without confirming the requester’s identity. Be aware that many emails requesting your personal information often appear to be legitimate.
  • Verify through multiple, reliable sources any reports about compromises of voter information or voting systems, and consider searching for other reliable sources before sharing such information via social media or other avenues.
  • Be cautious with websites not affiliated with local or state government that solicit voting information, like voter registration information. Websites that end in “.gov” or websites you know are affiliated with your state or local election office are usually trustworthy. Be sure to know what your state and local elections office websites are in advance to avoid inadvertently providing your information to nefarious websites or actors.
  • Report potential crimes—such as cyber targeting of voting systems—to your local FBI Field Office.
  • Report cyber-related incidents on election infrastructure to your local election officials and CISA (Central@CISA.gov).

The FBI is responsible for investigating election crimes, malign foreign influence operations, and malicious cyber activity targeting election infrastructure and other U.S. democratic institutions. CISA helps critical infrastructure owners and operators, including those in the election community, remain resilient against physical and cyber threats. The FBI and CISA provide services and information to uphold the security, integrity, and resiliency of U.S. election infrastructure.

The FBI and CISA encourages the public to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to their local FBI field office (www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field). For additional assistance, best practices, and common terms, please visit the following websites:

  • FBI’s Protected Voices: www.fbi.gov/investigate/counterintelligence/foreign-influence/protectedvoices
  • FBI’s Election Crimes and Security: www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-andcrimes/election-crimes-and-security
  • CISA’s Election Security Resource Library: Election Security Library | CISA
  • CISA’s Stop Ransomware: https://www.cisa.gov/stopransomware
  • CISA’s Mis-, Dis-, and Malinformation Resource Library: https://www.cisa.gov/mdm-resource-library
  • CISA’s Election Security Rumor vs. Reality: https://www.cisa.gov/rumorcontrol

Read more at IC3

Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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